Rituals for average Catholics?

I am just beginning to learn about Catholicism. There are many rules. Please, if you will, can someone give me a brief outline of what an average busy parent with a job does daily as a Catholic?

Right now, we say grace before meals and pray at night. That’s about it.

For example, does the average Catholic fast for Lent? If so, how?

I read here that some people have Holy Water. Do we have to do that at home?

Are there other major daily things you do or don’t do depending on the season?

I know there is information on websites, but I really want to know what real people do daily.

Thanks in advance.

It’s funny that you are coming at this whole issue as if daily devotions are a burden to be bravely borne instead of what they are, aids to faith. :wink:

Catholics are not bound to do any particular devotion. Rather, we are encouraged to pray, to read Scripture/spiritual reading, and to demonstrate Christ’s life in our lives.

Most Catholics pray with their families and do grace at meal times, just as you do. Some of us recite the Liturgy of the Hours, especially Morning and Evening Prayer. Others do the Lectio Devina–a method of Scripture reading and meditation. And still others attend daily Mass, and so on. It’s up to each person/family to decide what daily devotions they will do.

No, no, I didn’t mean to imply it’s a burden…just trying to decipher theoretical from actual in terms of practicing Catholicism. I think we actually do more than your average Lutheran, but it’s no burden. Praying is never a burden. :slight_smile:

Except the Holy Water in the home. Coming from the Protestant side, that idea is still very foreign. We haven’t covered it, yet. I get it at church but it’s going to take some pondering to get used to it elsewhere. Perhaps it will make more sense in the future.

Keeping or using holy water in your home is not a requirement. My family does, but we are not consistent at all in using it. :o

You will find that people’s devotional practices vary widely. I think some type of family prayer is essential for helping to form your children and strengthen your marriage and yourselves. That can be a simple Morning Offering and the type of night prayers you probably say now. Some families say the rosary regularly. We do not, each of us says (or doesn’t say) it on their own as frequently/regularly as they feel like.

I think of Grace before meals as a separate prayer “category” that should be said before every meal.

Fasting (one meal a day) is only required 2x a year - on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. There are guidelines for who (age and health) is required to fast. Two small snacks are also allowed as necessary. It is not really that difficult for a normal healthy adult.

Abstinence (no meat) is required during all the Fridays in Lent. This doesn’t mean you must eat fish. There are plenty of meatless meals (mac n cheese!) for those who don’t like fish.

Of course, going to Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation (about 6 weekdays in the US, fewer in most other countries) is required. Since you are used to attending services on Sunday that’s not a big change.

Sacramental confession is necessary, and I encourage most people to go every month. However, it is only required when one has committed mortal sin. One way to avoid mortal sin, and decrease venial (lesser) sins, is to receive sacramental confession regularly.

Good question! I will be praying for you.

Thank you, Mrs. Sally! That is what I was curious about. The fasting sounds quite a bit easier then the Jewish fasting (sunrise to sunset). I just want to do it right. I had heard of the fish on Fridays thing and it reminds me to buy fish if we haven’t had it all week, LOL! I didn’t realize it was only for Lent.

I will ask about Holy Water. I don’t think I’m quite sure the meaning of it at church. I thought I knew…Oh well, that’s what RCIA is for.

We haven’t learned the Rosary yet, but our son is in Catholic school and has a few of the prayers down already (he’s in kindergarten). He’s been teaching us. He laughs when I keep going with the Protestant ending on the Our Father. I have to catch myself.

No meat on Fridays is required during Lent, BUT Catholics are encouraged to do some sort of penance on Fridays throughout the year. IF they eat meat, they are “supposed to” do some other sort of self denial.

Some like myself, continue to abstain from meat on Fridays throughout the year, For me it is much easier than trying to come up with a replacement penance.

You will find that there are various levels of adherence to Catholic guidelines. Probably like other faiths, there are some who are very devout, and follow most if not all the rules and guides, and others who are fairly lax and others who are barely Catholic or lapsed Catholics.

Although I consider myself fairly devout I do not use holy water at all, except at Church. It may be because my wife is not Catholic, but we only have a few religious articles around, a rosary or crucifix here and there, but that is about it. I am more into living my faith as opposed to showing it around my house.

Depending on where you live, you may be required to abstain on all Fridays. It is mandatory in the UK for example. We should always do some form of penance on Fridays - and abstaining is a good choice. We do it all year round also. Other penances could be to skip dessert or snacks, do a disliked chore for someone else, say extra prayers.

Holy water is a sacremental which reminds us of the sacrament of our baptism. In homes it is often used in a similar way to the prayer scrolls placed in doorways of Jewish homes - as a reminder and a blessing as you enter or leave the home.

welcome to the forums, it is wonderful that you are looking in to the catholic faith.

for starters, the church does not require more than christ requires of us.

jesus wants us to pray, the church has supplied many prayers we can use to help guide us or you can use your own… the rosary is one of these as well as many other devotions to the saints or christ.

jesus gave the apostles the power to retain and forgive sins, and requires us to confess them. the church has set up a good annonymous way to do it. it is technically required only once a year and only for mortal sins. but you are encouraged to go more often, examination of conscience can prove to be very beneficial

jesus wants us to fast, the church has set up guides to help us do this, mainly during lent. just to be clear, fasting falls under the category of penance, which is a self-mortification or denial of yourself, a small sacrifice that you can make for God and others. other things include, giving up things you enjoy for a day, prayers, charitable deeds, almsgiving.

some people are called to more, some less. it will be up t you to discern.

god bless on your journey

Grace has to be said as long as we eat. LOL.

Yes, when possible if age and health are not the deterrent. Fasting in Catholicism means to omit or to eat less. So you can decide the level of your fast. Is it a total omission or merely less amount of food?

Abstain is also part of Lent. You can abstain from some worldly pleasure, especially one that you are addicted to, as part of your act of penance and instead use that time to pray.

You can keep holy water at home. You can get it from the church if you do not have one. Next time during chrism mass or those mass before Easter, the parish may announce that you can bring your own bottles of water/oil for blessing, and they can be used at home.

We do not use them much, probably you may not use them at all but you can use them when you need to. You can bless your children with them; you can bless your house with them too by sprinkling the water and say a short prayer.

Ah, you use it with prayer after having one of those nightmares. :wink:

Holy water is Sacramental object, not a Sacrament. It nevertheless has been blessed and thus denotes the graceful presence of God. Things of God is holy as opposed to things of the Evil One.

I can’t think of any at this moment. There may be cultural thing that Catholics do however.

Besides going to the church, it is prayers. If you have small children, it is good to have a short time of prayer together. We have a slogan in our parish that says, a family that prays together keeps together. The rosary, or reading a short passage from the Bible (get one from the daily reading) or tell Bible story and explain in a simple way its moral, and giving opportunity for children to say prayers.

It is no big deal but a matter of including it in your practice in the house. It does not take much time but if it becomes one of the activities in the house, the children will be used to it. “It is prayer time …”

You are welcome. God bless you.:slight_smile:

First welcome to the forums. One thing you will find is that the people here might not qualify as your “average Catholic”. I don’t mean that in the bad way, but more that most people here are more… invested (for lack of a better term) in their faith. In other words what people here do might not match the practices of the average Catholic. That being said …

I go through phases of praying the liturgy of the hours (primarily morning, evening, and night prayers). Not really a ritual but more a devotional practice. Since we are at the begining of a new liturgical year I am trying to stick with it this time. :o

As for Holy Water we primarily have it to bless ourselves when leaving the house in the morning. I think of blessing myself with Holy Water as a reminder of my baptismal promises and a way to ask God for the graces to live my life as he calls me to.

I will occasionally chant blessings to my children when I leave the house in the morning. More a weird personal thing that I doubt many Catholics do. It makes my kids smile and that helps me get through long days at work.

I tend to do a water fast when fasting. I’ll normally do it from sundown to sundown the following day. That is not what the average Catholic does when fasting though. I do it for myself as a remembrance of those that do not have as much as I do and as a form of penance. Normally I only do it during the Fridays during Advent and Lent.

Other rituals? I guess maybe crossing myself when passing an accident, cemetery or cross on the side of the road (praying for the souls of those that have passed or healing for the injured). I also cross myself when passing a Catholic Church in respect and acknowledgement of Christ in the tabernacle.

Those are just a handful of the things that seem to be unique to me since I became Catholic.

I should note that I am not a cradle catholic. I was received about 7 years ago, so I am slowly picking up practices and keeping those that are most beneficial to me. The important thing to do is to use the practices that are most beneficial in your life to bring you closer to God.

Hi lutheran farmer,
I’m not sure if you are dipping your toe in the Tiber or just curious but either way check out this link The Catholic Grout List. I’m more likely to share the list with someone who has studied the Catholic faith more or already converted because they should have knowledge of Catholic doctrine and the sacraments which take presidence. As the comment above the list reads these add texture to daily Catholic living but some things might seem way out there to someone who is taking a good look at Catholic teaching for the first time.

If you have questions about things, do ask. :slight_smile:

Thanks, everyone!

You’ve given me some neat ideas on how to honor God.

Please forgive me if I came across as suspicious. We get a lot of trolls on CAF, you see. :tiphat:

All the spiritual practices Catholics use are meant to benefit us in the faith and to honor God. Devotions come and go in popularity. They are only beneficial if we don’t make them the object of our efforts, but rather unity with God as our aim. They are useful spiritual tools, and like all good tools each has its proper use and not all are suited to everyone. :smiley:

Hi there,

Thanks again, for the ideas. I’m sorry about my hesitation with the Holy Water. It’s all so new…

Nope, not a troll. I shaved this morning. :smiley:

That being said, I had a chance to ask a bunch of pressing questions today and I’m pretty fired up now. In a good way. :wink:

When I first looked at the Catholic church, it was with high suspicion. After some discussions with the priest and the RCIA folks, I have faced the fact that my church left the original church and, although they seemed to have good reasons back then, I’m not so sure they are on the right path anymore. As a mental exercise, if I can’t come up with some really good reasons to stay separate from the original church, I have no justification to remain Lutheran. That’s quite a bit more invested than the suspicious eyeballing from a safe distance that I was doing before.

I have about a year to go still.

You are in RCIA, I assume? Then you are past being part of the Protestant world and are now considered a Catholic candidate. So, welcome to the journey–one that many, including me, have taken. If we can help you in any way, prayers and answers to questions, etc. please let us know. :slight_smile:

And I don’t know that all trolls are so bad. I rather like the little ones with multi-color hair. :stuck_out_tongue:

I have curly hair, but all one color. No fun at all.

Thank you. Yes, we are in RCIA (the husband and I) as of about two weeks ago. Is that what it means when we get called up in church before retreating off to a little room to study? I guess we are candidates then. The good news is that we might finish up before son is old enough for his first communion.

Welcome to our faith… I was Catholic from age 6 so nothing seems unusual to me… whne I was helping out with and RCIA class, one couple asked me if I ever felt we were doing all sorts of strange things.

So like I said, it is all perfectly normal for me… we are no different from any other Christian group, as a matter of fact we ARE the original Christian group… we pray, we follow and read the Bible, although we do not get in the habit of quoting verbatim from the Bible as some other folks do.

IT may seem like we do some more ritualistic things but we are all used to it. We have a more complete list of sacraments but that has come down through the church for centuries. I think as a group Catholics tend to be more conservative (maybe not so much in the USA, but definitely in other countries), but all Christians I think should be more conservative. Sin and evil is not a thing to be too liberal with. When we talk about morality and wrong doing it is far better to be too cautious than to be too lax.

We have to be careful that we do not act like the Pharisees and stub our noses at others, But we need to adhere to Christ’s teachings as close as we can. There is a big difference between tolerating sinners and tolerating sin. We must be forgiving of others BUT we can not let ourselves be influenced to give into temptations. We live in difficult times. We do not want to discriminate against gays, but we can not condone and accept fundamental changes to what we believe is a sacrament between a man and a woman.

BTW, I too think folks on these forums are a bit more devout and not typical of most Catholics. I think far too many Catholics are too lax in the practice of our faith.

Thank you, that makes sense.

If I didn’t have mine colored my hair would be all white, so I can’t brag, either. :stuck_out_tongue:

Thank you. Yes, we are in RCIA (the husband and I) as of about two weeks ago. Is that what it means when we get called up in church before retreating off to a little room to study? I guess we are candidates then. The good news is that we might finish up before son is old enough for his first communion.

Are you aiming for Easter Vigil 2014 to be received into the Church? That’s how I went through RCIA, from September through EV of the next year. And how great that you son will be at just the right age to receive his first communion. If he is old enough at EV, you might ask if he can receive communion at the same Mass in which you and your husband are received into the Church, and thus receive your first communion, as well–to make it a true family affair. :slight_smile:

I’ve used my Holy Water to ‘bless’ my apartment, my classrooms when I was teaching, and now my office. I don’t always remember this, but sometimes I sprinkle some on the parcels I’m sending to my grandchildren in the post, and on my luggage when I fly.

Four years in a Catholic high school (admittedly a long time ago) and now Catholic for seven years, and sometimes I forget where to stop, so I had a bit of a giggle at this.

Not sure how common this is, but our church here has a large container of Holy Water with a tap on, so you just bring your bottle and fill it up whenever you need more.

So, welcome, Lutheran Farmer, it’s a wonderful journey you are on.

Someone mentioned prayers with children. I love my granddaughter’s prayers, which she often uses to delay bedtime and spend some extra minutes with me, so we end up with a litany of thank you’s…“thank you for the sky, the walls, granny’s eyebrows, the books…” and so on. I always start her off with The Lord’s Prayer and a Hail Mary, at the moment that I say, but I hope to teach them to her soon.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.